Side Effects of Flea and Tick Powder

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Fleas and ticks can cause a variety of health problems for your pet, from allergic reactions to anemia. Flea and tick powders can help control these annoying pests, but, as with all flea and tick products, they can produce some alarming side effects. It is imperative that you read the label carefully and completely. Some products can be deadly if used on cats.

Breathing Problems

Flea and tick powder is a very fine powder, and if applied incorrectly, can cause your pet to inhale the particles. This can lead to sneezing and difficulty breathing. To apply properly, carefully place the powder in small areas on your pet's fur and rub the powder into the skin.


Some pets will begin retching or vomiting shortly after application. If your pet begins showing signs of toxicity, bathe him immediately in mild soap and rinse thoroughly with clear water. If vomiting continues or becomes severe, or if you notice any additional signs, contact your veterinarian right away.


One of the most common side effects of flea and tick powder use is drooling, and is often the only sign you will observe. This will usually subside rather quickly on its own; however, if drooling persists bathe your pet in mild soap and rinse her thoroughly with clear water.


Dogs and cats may experience irritation to the skin from the application of flea and tick powders. When applying you should avoid the eyes, nose, mouth and genital areas. Bathing in a mild shampoo and thoroughly rinsing with water is the treatment of choice. If powder gets into your pet's eyes, thoroughly rinse them with clear water.


Cats are extremely sensitive to the effects of organophosphates. Although there are a few products on the market that contain a small percentage of organophosphates that are labeled for use on cats, most products containing orgnophosphates are labeled "for use in dogs only." Use caution when purchasing a flea and tick powder for your cat, and ensure that it is approved for use on cats. Signs of organophosphate toxicity include drooling, depression, labored breathing, weakness, and convulsions. Although most dogs will not experience these side effects, they can appear in both dogs and cats.


Flea treatments that contain permethrin are designed to be used on dogs only. Using flea control products containing permethrin can cause death in cats. Exposed cats usually begin having uncontrolled seizures shortly after application. Immediate veterinary treatment is necessary. Dogs may experience side effects such as those mentioned above.

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